Ten days of frustration

I had my Social Security check deposited directly to Sovereign Bank a bank in Jersey Shore on Feb. 1. On Feb. 15, I received a letter from the Social Security Administration, Mid Atlantic Program Service Center, in Philadelphia. This letter read as such: “Based on the information we have, we cannot pay benefits beginning February 2013. We have determined that you need help managing your payments. We will be selecting a qualified person to receive your payments. We call this person a representative payee. It will be your payee’s duty to manage your social security payments for you and use them for your needs.”

On Feb. 20, I made calls to the Social Security office in Williamsport to no avail. On Feb. 21, I tried unsuccessfully to again call the Social Security Office in Williamsport and the office in Philadelphia. I talked only to recordings. In frustration, I called my niece in Newberry, then went down to her home for some assistance. She, with the help of her computer and phone, managed to make contact with the Social Security Office in Williamsport. We were told the person who would handle my complaint was off and would be back Feb. 25, and she would call me. I never received a return call, nor a message on my answering service. On Feb. 26, I went to Rep. Garth Everett’s office in Jersey Shore. In 10 minutes, his caring and efficient secretary had my problem solved. My 10 days of frustration had ended.

The only two entities involved with transferring my check directly into my bank, because of a Federal law, was the bank and the Social Security Administration in Philadelphia. Does either a financial institution or the Social Security Administration have the authority to be the judge and jury concerning who should receive a Social Security recipient’s check? Or does this authorization lie in the hands of next of kin, executor, a power of attorney or a licensed medical doctor? Humility is removing our freedom of pride and it is becoming rampant.

Weldon C. Cohick Jr.